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Kennedy: Hoped for centrist choice for VP; post office more important than ever | COMMENTARY

Well, the Democrats have finished their “virtual” convention and as expected, former Vice President Joe Biden has garnered his party’s nomination for the presidency. I was most impressed by the speeches from former President Obama and Michelle Obama, as well as from Jill Biden. Sen. Kamala Harris’s didn’t quite measure up to those three, but was also captivating. Biden’s was presidential, I thought,

Although his choice of Harris has been well received by most of the party faithful, I personally wasn’t so enamored with that choice. It’s not because she is a woman as there were many other women who I thought could do the job. It also wasn’t because she proudly claims her Black heritage as there were several other black women, such as Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms, Stacey Abrams, also from Georgia, and Florida Rep. Val Demings, among others, who I thought might be better choices.

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I was hoping for someone a bit closer to the center, idealistically, and one a bit less angry sounding and without overt aspirations to hold higher office. My ideal choice would have been former U.N Ambassador and National Security Adviser in the Obama administration, Susan Rice. She is an extremely bright person with experience in dealing with foreign governments and security matters. She also worked closely with Vice President Biden on many matters, including the planning of a comprehensive response to a pandemic situation, which the Trump administration cavalierly threw out. They still haven’t figured out what to do. I’ll vote for Biden, and urge all Democrats and thinking Republicans to do so also, if only to end the Trump debacle of the last four years.

With the election just about two months away, there is a very serious problem brewing. The problem is with the more than likely widespread use of absentee and mail-in ballots. It appears that either by implied or direct direction of the president, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is attempting to disrupt the orderly processing of mail, including ballots. Areas all across the country have been reporting problems with mail being delayed, equipment being disassembled, and mail boxes being removed from neighborhood street corners. DeJoy, whose only qualification for his post was a multi-million dollar contribution to the Trump campaign, has promulgated rules that eliminate overtime for postal employees, forced mail to be left for days in local post offices and distribution centers rather than being delivered in a timely fashion as we have all come to expect. Last week, a number of state attorneys general filed suit against DeJoy and Trump to block continuation of these actions.

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Subsequently, DeJoy agreed to do no more harm to the postal service until after the election but has steadfastly refused to order the restoration of mail boxes and sorting equipment that has been dismantled. Such a restoration is absolutely necessary in order for our postal workers to be able to handle the volume of ballots expected.

At this time, when we’re all told to limit our exposure to others, the mail is more important to every day commerce than ever. Prescriptions by mail have become the norm. Unemployment and other government assistance checks are needed desperately during the pandemic. Even the simple transaction of receiving and paying a utility or other bill by mail has become a hit–or–miss proposition. All of this disruption is, I believe, simply an attempt by Trump to be able to declare that the election is invalid and that he should remain in office, even after, as I expect, he loses in a relative landslide. What a travesty of our democratic process that would be. Even if every voter in the nation were to decide to vote by mail, it would be unacceptable for the post office to be unable to process the ballots on or before the deadline.

Elections officials in Maryland have declared that mail-in ballots and those placed in the special drop boxes will be processed and counted beginning on Oct. 1. That means that on election night, after the polls close, we in Maryland will have some results posted almost immediately maybe even the first in the nation. As I like to say, partly in jest, get out there and vote, early and often.

Bill Kennedy writes every other week from Taneytown. You may contact him at wlkennedyiii@verizon.net.

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